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Runners finish strong

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

With a fluctuating roster and a late start, the road to the 1999 NIAA/U.S. Bank State Cross Country Championships for the Tahoe-Truckee team was as arduous as the courses it ran.

The Wolverines started with three girls on the team and finished the season with one who proved to be exceptional. The boys’ team faded in and out of the season, interchangeably showing up for meets with only a core of racers regularly showing. Mark Brady was assigned the position of head coach after the season had started and the team had hardly even started training before its first meet.

But as the season progressed, the team improved. Consistently, the committed runners improved their times.

The team’s outstanding runner, Betsy Van Blarigan, won a couple of races during the regular season and was among the elite by season’s end. Van Blarigan, a junior, placed second in the league championships at Spring Creek and was Truckee’s highest qualifier for the state championship.

Van Blarigan finished fourth out of 51 in the state competition held at Reed High School with a time of 22:09. Her time was eclipsed by the defending state champion, Heather Sanderman, a sophomore at North Tahoe High School, who finished with a time of 20:22. Kristie McRea, representing Boulder City, finished second in the competition with a time of 21:29 and Anne Bailey, a senior from Spring Creek – beating Van Blarigan for the first time this season – who finished third with a time of 21:48.

“Betsy was second to Heather in league,” Brady said. “It’ll be interesting see next year how [Betsy] progresses.”

Iran Munzano was Truckee’s highest ranking member of the boys’ team. Munzano finished highest among the Truckee racers in all but one of the races during the regular season. Munzano finished ninth in the league championship but was absent for the state championship.

“He just didn’t show,” Brady said. “I don’t know why. He just wasn’t there.”

Brian Beno, Andrew Van Blarigan and Graham Herr did show and, according to Brady, managed to shave their times substantially from a race on the same course earlier in the season.

Beno, a sophomore, had the team’s fastest finish with a time of 20:10. Beno finished 31st in field of 65. Andrew Van Blarigan and Herr paced together and finished with times of 20:35 and 20:37, respectively.

North Tahoe, the defending Team State Champion, finished third. G.O. Parsons, the Individual State Champion (from North Tahoe) also finished third. Parsons time of 17:39 was beaten by Boulder City’s Jack Hardy (17:08) and Spring Creek’s Tony Fleming, the new state champion, who finished at 17:00.

Boulder City High School is the new boys’ team state champion with North Tahoe claiming second place. Spring Creek came in third.

Boulder City is also the girls’ team state champion. Spring Creek claimed second and North Tahoe took third.

“I was pleased with the season,” Brady said. “Hopefully we’ll have more kids turn out next year and we can get an early start.”

“Peter Van Blarigan was very supportive all season, as were some other parents, and I appreciate that,” Brady said.


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